Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

The Way of the Called, Chosen and Faithful

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The Way of the Called, Chosen and Faithful

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The Way of the Called, Chosen and Faithful

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Who are the called, chosen and faithful? The narrow and difficult way is another name for the process of conversion. Our Christian walk requires total commitment to God and Jesus Christ. Let us remember that after baptism, we hold the keys to our own salvation and do our part.

Transcript

[Randy Urwiller] I’d like to begin the sermon today reading two of my favorite scriptures. It conveys the metaphor of the two ways of life and I find myself referring to them often. And it’s in Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:13-14 13 Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
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. And I’ll read it for you but please jot it down in your notes. And it’s in Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:13-14 13 Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
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, that we find Jesus’ description of two roads, two ways of life. One road is broad and heavily traveled and the other, narrow and difficult. And Jesus tells His disciples, He says, verse 13, Matthew 7, “Enter by the narrow road; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it because narrow is the gate and difficult is a way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

In today’s sermon, we will consider our walk in this narrow and difficult way as it’s translated here but we’ll also refer to it by another name, the process of conversion. Now most of us here have traveled far on the road or way of conversion. Some have been on this way for many years and some really not long or not so long. And still for others, for many of our younger people especially here, it’s really the only way you’ve ever walked in, which is pretty amazing if you think about that. And no doubt, at its destination, we all intend to achieve eternal life, salvation in the Kingdom of God.

Now the word conversion broadly means to change from one belief, view, or party to another or it also means to change from one form or function to another, Merriam Webster dictionary online. And so through processes of conversion, we can convert fractions into decimals. I used to love not so much doing that in school years ago, converting fractions into decimals. And, of course, we’re very grateful that we can convert oil into electricity. And what man isn’t pleased to convert his messy garage into a real man cave?

So there are various conversions that we are aware of. And, of course, conversion can apply to religion as well. Conversion, religiously speaking, means to adopt new opinions or beliefs such as converting from Catholicism to Buddhism. But in the Bible, according to God’s Word, God refers to that conversion we yearn for most and that conversion is not something we can achieve on our own. It requires God’s direct involvement. And the ultimate conclusion of God’s process, conversion is the transformation of our physical mortal bodies into a spiritual immortal existence, a moment Paul describes as, “the twinkling of an eye, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on in mortality.” And, of course, that is 1 Corinthians 15. 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
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. Very important scriptures and I know we think on that and turn to that often.

So how might we grasp in overview? How might we grasp, in overview, this miraculous process of conversion, this narrow way of travel that leads to life into our glorious transformation? How might we understand this in overview?

Well, back in Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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, if you’d turn there briefly with me, Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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gives us a clue. Here we read about the war that the beast and his armies will wage in the future against Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, at His return. And in Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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, I’d like for us to read this but to also notice who is with Christ. Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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, together, they go to war against the Lamb, speaking of these enemy armies, “they go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because He is Lord of all lords and King of all kings.” And here’s the part, “and His called and chosen and faithful ones will be with Him.”

Who are these called and chosen and faithful ones? Well, they are those called to repent, surrender and receive God’s Holy Spirit. And since they commit themselves to believe and obey God and to yield to His Holy Spirit, they are set apart and chosen for salvation. And they are those who remain faithfully loyal to God through all trials and all sufferings for as long as they live. In other words, the called, chosen, and faithful are the ones who keep on to the narrow way and they complete the process of conversion. They are those who comprise the Body of Christ, the Church of God and we are among them there and then at Christ’s return if, there’s always a big if. If we continue in God’s way of life.

In fact, the phrase “called, chosen, and faithful” works as a framework, this overview framework, for understanding how God helps us develop His righteous character and become like Him. I’ve entitled the sermon today, “The Way of the Called, Chosen and Faithful.” “The Way of the Called, Chosen and Faithful.” And so let’s begin understanding this conversion process. The process of conversion begins with God, the Father calling or inviting an individual to repent, surrender to Him, and receive His Holy Spirit. And over in John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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, you may have it memorized, it should be quite familiar to us but let’s look there, John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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. We have a scripture that is very clear, who begins the process of the calling.

In John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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, Jesus stated, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” And we can also read a few more verses down, verse 65. Jesus also said, “Therefore I’ve said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” God, the Father begins the process of calling. He calls us to understand His Word and way of life to know Christ. Now let’s also be turning to 2 Thessalonians 2. Back in 2 Thessalonians 2, and in verses 13-14, we know then that the Father only can call us and open our minds to understand His plan of salvation.

And what we see is that calling hinges upon Christ gospel of the Kingdom of God. That’s what we’re called upon to understand. Let’s notice Paul’s statement here in verses 13-14 of 2 Thessalonians. Paul states, “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The gospel they preached, Paul preached and all the apostles in the early church, of course, that is the gospel, the gospel of the Kingdom.

In fact, if you think about it, we know this, we’ve been taught this, the entire Bible comes down to being about the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth and of humanity finally becoming spirit-born children of God. Now, let’s also turn to Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
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. In Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
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, we should consider this calling by… Excuse me. We should consider our calling by a Father a true miracle. And it’s a miracle because, without His intervention, we cannot comprehend His truth, we could not see the light of His truth in the darkness that we would otherwise know.

And we would not otherwise, frankly, we wouldn’t want to comprehend God’s truth. We wouldn’t really care about it. Because of what we read here, Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
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, Paul states, “The carnal mind,” mind cut off from God, “is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” By itself, we can never understand nor submit to God. When the Father calls us, He offers us a miraculous blessing. He opens our minds to be more receptive to understanding Christ’s gospel. Sometimes, we may think that we discovered God’s truth on our own.

Early on in my calling, and I would say things like that. “Oh, I discovered this truth.” Well, that’s not right. That’s not the way it works. It’s correct to say, more correct to say that God opened our minds to believe and understand His truth. He begins the process. Without God’s calling, we could never see or believe what only God can reveal. And think of it, of the billions of people God could have called, do you think about this, do you realize that God the Father called you and me out of all these billions of people that have lived before us and live now?

We need to think about that and what that means. And so for these reasons, we ought to be most humbly grateful to God, our Father every day. We should never run out of something to thank God for. And, of course, I admit that other people have many, for centuries, have read and studied the Bible. People have garnered much wisdom and instruction and inspiration from its pages. It’s there. We have intelligence. We can gain it. But without the aid of God’s Holy Spirit, people remain unenlightened and unable to grasp the significance, the more profound significance, of God’s plan of salvation to the Kingdom of God.

So, if we’ve ever thought that God is never done a miracle for us, please think again because we’re wrong. Our calling is a miracle. Now, we do know that God wants every human being to understand His Word. God wants every person to receive salvation. That’s what we’re told in 1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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and you can turn there with me if you’d like. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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. I lost my place. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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. Yeah. It helps to be in the right book. Excuse me. All right. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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. Here, Paul writes, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We shouldn’t get puffed up. We should not become full of human pride and vanity thinking, “Well, I’m special. God called me.” We are special but we had nothing to do with it. And to realize, we’re just the first ones. God wants all to know what we know and to live what we know. Yet even as John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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suggests, then God is not now calling every human being to salvation and I think we understand that. God’s Holy Days, I cannot elaborate upon those in this sermon but God’s Holy Days revealed that the vast majority of humanity will not receive their opportunity for salvation until after Christ’s return.

Meanwhile, the Father decides who to call and when. And yet, not everyone He calls chooses to welcome His precious calling. He calls but not everybody welcomes His calling. And in that fact, there’s certainly a warning for us. Let’s return in Matthew 13:3-8 Matthew 13:3-8 3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.
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. Please turn to Matthew 13:3-8 Matthew 13:3-8 3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.
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. And there, we’ll see an example of the parable, Jesus’ description of how people respond to God’s truth and that is in the parable of the sower and the seed. So let’s read parts of this. Matthew 13:3-8 Matthew 13:3-8 3 And he spoke many things to them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell on stony places, where they had not much earth: and immediately they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred times, some sixty times, some thirty times.
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. And we read here, “Then He, Jesus, spoke many things to them in parables, He said, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow.’” Here’s the story. “And he sowed, and some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns and the thorns, sprang up and choked them.” But verse 8, “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Now, let’s skip down to verse 19 because here is where Jesus begins to explain the meaning of the parable and this is what we need to focus on. Verse 19 now, chapter 13. And it explains it this way. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom,” notice he’s referring to the gospel, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what he has sown in his heart. This is he who received the seed by the wayside.” In reference to the parable. And so the response described here, again, shows that unless God calls a person and makes his mind receptive to the gospel, that person will not notice or value its full significant importance.

And when you think about this, I suspect some just may understand the truth of this fact probably because our own failed efforts at times to convert our family and friends. God opened our minds to understand His truth, we’re fired up about it and we wanted everyone else to know what we know, what would had been revealed to us but it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. We really shouldn’t try to convert our family, friends, and others. It doesn’t mean we don’t answer questions, we don’t talk about why we believe what we believe. I’m talking about trying to force conversion here. That doesn’t really work.

Because again, without the father’s calling, our efforts are more likely going to end with annoying our family and friends and alienating others away from us. They’ll just walk away when we walk in the room and that is not something we would like. And then Jesus explains three different outcomes for those who did respond to God’s word. Let’s continue on in verse 20-21 here. And so this would be the first person. “And he who received the seed on stony places,” Jesus explains, “is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of word, immediately he stumbles.”

Well, this first-person then heard God’s Word and he rejoiced in its truth, that is until troubles from others arose. I don’t know. Perhaps he didn’t or couldn’t bear being ridiculed for his unusual ways. He wasn’t normal like everyone else. Maybe he couldn’t cope with the condemnation of family or the bullying of friends because he is so enthusiastic about God’s truth. For whatever reason, though, he felt oppressed and the heat was on, troubles began, and he forsook God’s call.

Now, the second person also heard God’s Word, verse 22. Here, Jesus says, “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” This person then held longer on to the word and it seems he produced some spiritual fruit but he became unfruitful. Over time, he became preoccupied with other things. It seems then that pride or wealth, power, perhaps fame, it turned his attention from God’s calling. He likely found it easier to do what normal people do rather than to believe and obey God.

The third person, however, the third person held, he heard the word and he held tightly onto it, verse 23. “But he who receives seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” This person believed God and he rightly cherished His word. He put it into practice and the fruit of his faithful effort was bountiful we see. This man must have persevered through tribulations the other man felt. He must have persevered through the worldliness and the pulls that the other man felt. This man then is the type of person God would have you and me to be. We know, and when you think about this parable, we would be wise to judge our own spiritual state in light of this parable. We need to double-check where are we.

And we might also remember something else Jesus said. He said, and you can jot this down in your notes, in Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
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, Jesus said, Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
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, He said, “Many are called but few chosen.” And I think the parable of the sower and the seed helps us to understand why few are chosen. They turn away, they don’t stick. But now, exactly what makes one chosen? Let’s then think of that. We’ve heard about the called, now the chosen. Well, if we turn again back to 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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and I’m going to read it again with looking at something else it says in the same verse.

Again, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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, “but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you. He chose you for salvation through sanctification,” which means setting apart “by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel for obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We see here that the chosen are those who welcome God’s calling and believe the gospel of the Kingdom. And because they believe the truth, they do repent of sin and they do turn to God. And then God chooses them for salvation by sanctifying them setting them apart through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

This movement or progression from called to chosen requires baptism. Baptism must be preceded by faith and repentance. Repentance from sin or lawlessness, this turning towards God and obedience will rightly come, of course, with feelings of regret. We will feel guilty about our sins now that we understand what they are. And no doubt, we should feel sorrowful, sorry for what we have done. But genuine repentance born of our conviction and commitment to obey God must be more than just feelings. And that’s part of what we think about and contemplate as we make that choice when the time is right for our baptism, for our commitment.

Let’s turn to Acts 2, now, verses 36-41. And I’d like for us to recall what genuine repentance looks like lest we forget. Acts 2:36-41 Acts 2:36-41 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brothers, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
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. And of course, this takes us back to the time when Peter was filled with God’s Holy Spirit and he was concluding this really powerful sermon before a group of rather astound audience of Jews on the morning of Pentecost. And here’s his final words. That’s all we’re going to read here. We’re going to read his final words and how his final words here pierced their guilt-ridden hearts and minds. And here’s what he said, Acts 2:36 Acts 2:36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
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. He says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ And then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promises to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ And many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ And then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Do you and I, do we still recall the moment when we were cut to the heart knowing that we also are responsible for the death of Jesus Christ because of our sins? Weren’t we so eager to do whatever it takes to have our sins forgiven? And we believe the words of Christ. You can jot this down Mark 16:16 Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
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, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” God helped us because He’s calling us and He opened our minds. He helped us understand the magnitude of those words in Mark 16:16 Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
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. And surely, they motivated our faith and our action. Quoting from our fundamental beliefs booklet, it reads, “Repentance that leads to baptism is characterized by a change of heart in action and is based on personal faith in a total commitment to Jesus Christ and God the Father.” Total commitment. What does total commitment to God mean?

Well, in Luke 14:25-26 Luke 14:25-26 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
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. Luke 14:25-26 Luke 14:25-26 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
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. And here we get an idea of commitments. There are many places we could turn to in Scripture. We’re often told to count the cost. And I think what Christ told the people here in Luke 14:25-26 Luke 14:25-26 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
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gives us a rather distinct description of what this sort of commitment means. Jesus said we read now, “Great multitudes went with Jesus. And He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also he cannot be My disciple.’” You know, you’ve got to put God first. And so in short, brief, total commitment to God means that no one or no thing, not even our own selves, can be more important than God. Not anymore. Not once we commit ourselves to God.

God must always come first in our lives. So no matter how good or how difficult life may be, we must do whatever God requires of us, even to the forsaking of all we have for all that we are. And that includes our will and our time and our very lives because we learn in Scripture those things aren’t really ours. They belong to God. And we do this willingly and as an expression of our faith and of our love and our commitment to God. Baptism demonstrates our faith and in total commitment to God the Father and Jesus Christ. And baptism also reminds us of several vital truths. Through baptism, we outwardly show our faith that the shed blood of Jesus Christ removes from us sins penalty of death. Baptism also pictures the death of our old former life in a watery grave.

Let’s turn to Romans 6:3-6 Romans 6:3-6 3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
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. Something we studied prior to our own baptisms and we need to refer back to. Romans 6:3-6 Romans 6:3-6 3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
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. Paul explains much of the symbolic importance of baptism as well. Romans 6:3 Romans 6:3Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
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, Paul states, “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” And so our rising up from this watery grave of baptism, as we’re going to see later today, well, that represents Jesus Christ resurrection as a spiritual being and our resurrection to a new Spirit-led life, free from sins, penalty of death.

And once we are baptized and our sins are forgiven, God regards us as slaves of righteousness. We are no longer slaves to sin and death. Let’s look down here in verses 16-18, same chapter, Romans 6. Paul again says, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourself slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you will obey from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having that set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Our whole approach to life must change.

Let’s also look in 1 Peter 1 regarding the significance of our baptism. 1 Peter 1:18-19 1 Peter 1:18-19 18 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
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. You know, baptism is very much a joyous occasion. It’s hard to hold back tears sometimes. It’s a very wonderful occasion. And though joyous and the most important event in our life, baptism should also sober us with its reminder that our freedom from sin and death comes at a great price. Peter specifies this price in verses 18-19, 1 Peter 1. Jumping into the side he says, “Knowing that you are not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, or from your aimless conduct received by traditions of your fathers,” the ways we knew without God’s help, “but you’ve been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Christ perfect sacrifice.

So upon baptism, we now belong to God and we must no longer practice a lifestyle of sin. Notice we no longer practice a lifestyle of sin. It doesn’t mean we suddenly stop sinning. If that’s what you believe you’re going to be disappointed. We do keep sinning. But now we know what to do about and God helps us do the right thing. We belong to God on baptism and all we do should be done with faithful obedience and humble service to God so that we might glorify Him. You might jot down your notes here, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? 20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
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. All that we do should glorify God. And as I said, we will still be fighting our old, rebellious, carnal nature. We still have to contend with what Paul calls the old man even after baptism and receiving God’s Spirit, Holy Spirit.

And that’s why we should be grateful, though, because God so desires our success and becoming like Him that He gives us, indeed, He gives us a precious gift, the help of His Holy Spirit. And that’s what happens immediately after baptism. Immediately after baptism, and through the laying on of hands by one or more of God’s faithful ministers, God imparts to us His Holy Spirit. Let’s be turning back to Acts. Now this time Acts 8:14-17 Acts 8:14-17 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
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. Acts 8:14-17 Acts 8:14-17 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen on none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
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. What we do at this time, do today is what the apostles also did. Acts 8:14 Acts 8:14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John:
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, we read, “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet the Spirit yet had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

We believe that the laying on of hands by God’s ministers signifies the moment the baptized person receives the Holy Spirit and becomes sanctified, set apart and chosen of God. What does it mean to have God’s Holy Spirit in us? It means miraculous blessings. When I look at this list and I try to combine this and summarize it, it wasn’t easy. And when you think of what we’re going to look at here, what it means to have God’s Spirit in us it’s truly a miraculous blessings. And I hope this will help us think about these things and what it is God has given us. Let’s turn to John 14:16-18 John 14:16-18 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
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. John 14:16-18 John 14:16-18 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
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. Because here we learned that through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ lives His life in us. Jesus lives His life in us. John 14:16 John 14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
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where we’ll begin to read.

Jesus is praying to the Father. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you…” I’m looking to see. Okay, He’s not praying. He’s going to pray, excuse me. Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, and He [or It] may abide with you forever— the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” And we might also jot down reference to Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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, which states, “I’ve been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” And so if Christ living in us, we have access to His strength, His will.

His strength and His will help us fight the poles of our carnal nature. Overcome sin. Build godly character and bear the fruit of God’s Spirit. Beautiful fruit. “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” It’s Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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. On our own by our own will, we’re just too weak. That’s why we need the strength and will of Christ in us to help us. It is also by the Holy Spirit that God incorporates us into the Body of Christ. We can read that in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
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. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
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, we read, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized in one body— whether Jews or Greek, slaves or free— and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

Now let’s turn to Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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. Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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. Through God’s Spirit in us, we are also the children of God, members of His eternal family. Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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. Again, Paul writes, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you do not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption,” or as Dr. Ward told us and explained to us many times, “the Spirit of sonship,” how it can also be translated by whom, or “by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” With God’s Spirit in us, we can expect our ultimate conversion upon Christ’s return, when this mortal must put off immortality.

The magnitude of God’s gift of His Holy Spirit is much more than our limited mind, certainly much more than my limited mind can comprehend. It’s absolutely astounding and wonderful. But we must not doubt that what Scripture says is so. That His spirit is in us and at work according to God’s will and plan. Don’t doubt it. And after baptism and receiving God’s Spirit, well, we might think that the process of conversion is complete. We’ve been dumped underwater and a nice prayer and hands laid on us, we might think we’ve arrived. Have we arrived? If you’re here and I’m looking at you, you haven’t arrived yet. We are arriving is what we are doing.

We might think the process of conversion is complete, but we’d be wrong. You see, baptism marks the beginning of our new life, our only way to live from now on until we die. God requires that we remain faithful and ever-loyal in believing and obeying Him. This is what He means by total commitment. God gives us all we need. He gives us all we need to remain faithful to Him. Everything we need. However, it’s up to us to yield to Him to make use of His Spirit to make wise choices. And absolutely to always repent of sin. It’s critical. Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 2, please. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 2 Timothy 2:11-13 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself.
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. Here Paul makes very clear, I believe, he makes very clear our responsibility in remaining faithful to Him.

2 Timothy 2:11 2 Timothy 2:11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
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. In fact, Paul says, “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, with Christ,” of course I would refer to the baptism, “If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.” Both now Christ living in us with us now and absolutely in the Kingdom is through the resurrection. Verse 12, “If we endure, we persevere, we shall also reign with Him. But if we deny Him, He will also deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” From this, we should understand that our salvation depends upon our remaining faithful to the commitment we make to God at baptism.

And again, don’t let this fixed causes fear or be discouraged. He gives us everything we need to remain faithful. He really does. Now let’s turn to 2 Peter 1. 2 Peter 1 and chapters [verses] 2-11. I’m going to read a number of scriptures here. In 2 Peter 1:2-11 2 Peter 1:2-11 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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, we find Peter’s admonition to remain faithful and to become ever more like God. Being faithful doesn’t mean we just sit around on our spiritual posteriors. We have to be busy. We have to be developing His holy character. We have to be loving our neighbor. We have to be loving God. It never ends. No matter how good or how bad we may feel that day, we have to keep doing it. So let’s read here 2 Peter 1:2 2 Peter 1:2Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
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, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you and the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which has been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

I’ll pause here. Peter reminds us… He’s reminding us of where we began. Where did we begin this process? Reminds us of where we began and where we would still be had the Father Himself not cost to salvation and to escape the corruption of sin and death. We would have been without hope. We would have been hopeless. There must be nothing more important to us than to remain faithful to God and that calling He’s given us. Verses 5-11, continuing on here, Peter exhorts us to be diligent, to be ever-growing, ever-maturing, ever becoming more like God. And so fulfill God’s purpose for calling us to salvation. He did not call us to failure. Verse 5, Peter states, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, and to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

Get a sense, it’s just these are things we have to keep working on. “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful,” reminds us what we read in the parable, “you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even the blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” It suggests that some we might forget about the commitment we make, made at baptism. Verse 10, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure,” the election or setting apart or being chosen, making sure. “Where if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

You know, if we go back and think on these when we go home today or later this week, think about what he’s saying. The point Paul and Peter are making is essentially the same. Remain committed, remain faithful to God, build godly character, allow nothing to hinder our walk with God. We need to understand then that we hold the keys to our own salvation. We hold the keys to our own salvation because we must remain faithful. We must be moving forward. What must we be doing then? Post-baptism, post-receiving God’s Spirit, what must we be doing on the way to salvation? In light of these two admonitions, it seems to me that we might do this. Kind of boil it down. If we are being faithful to God, then we must continue to do all that we can to stay faithful to God. If we are being faithful to God, then we must continue to do all that we can to stay faithful to God.

But if we feel we are not being faithful to God, if we feel we’re not being faithful to God, then we must remember our commitment at baptism. We better repent immediately. Immediately repent, seek God’s forgiveness, and get back to where we need to be with God. That’s in our hands to control. God holds each of us accountable for what we do or fail to do. But He has called us to be faithful until the end. And so will we be among the called chosen and faithful with Christ when He returns as King of kings? Well, I pray that we will all be there. I sincerely do.

And we should be. We should be there. Because God has provided us everything we need to keep to the narrow way. I almost said narrow road, same thing. To keep to the narrow way that leads to eternal life. He’s given us everything we need to complete the process of conversion in the twinkling of an eye. So let us not grow weary. Let us not give up. But please let us all move ever forward to the Kingdom of God.

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